President Bill opened the meeting with 12 members and two guests present.   Following Joe’s blessing, President Bill asked for a moment of silence in remembrance of long-time Barre Rotarian and Past District Governor (1986-87) Wendell Fitts, who died Sunday at his Florida home with his family around him.   Funeral services for Wendell were held Tuesday in Florida, and a memorial service will be held in Barre in the spring, according to Homer, who was also in Florida when Wendell passed away.

Guest (and prospective Rotarian, more on that later) Tony Campos offered a happy dollar for the waterfall caused by Bob P. just prior to the start of the meeting.

Sue also offered a happy dollar for being the only woman able to enjoy the company of a roomful of delightfully entertaining men!   She didn’t exactly put it that way, but we all know that’s what she meant!

Sue followed up with her secretary’s report, introducing the aforementioned Tony Campos, who has been proposed as a new member, and approved by the board of directors.   This constitutes the first notice of Tony’s proposal.   His classification will be Communications-Video Production (his classification during his previous tenure with the Barre Rotary, which began on July 21, 1993).

Charlie Dindo gave the safety tip of the week when he advised the club of the dangers of storing 9-volt batteries together (the small square batteries used in smoke detectors).  The batteries have exposed positive and negative contacts and they can make contact with each, sparking fires.   He advised they be fully taped with electrical tape, or stored upright in the original packaging so the contacts aren’t able to touch other battery contacts.   They should then be properly re-cycled.

Our guest speaker, continuing with our focus on downtown businesses, was Bob Sager, owner of Bob’s Camera and Video.  Bob, whose wife Sue is a former Barre Rotarian, bought the business (the former Country Camera) and moved to Barre from Memphis in November 1986.   Bob said he and Sue had been looking to open their own camera business and had been attracted to New England.   Their choice came down to Burlington or Barre, and Bob said Sue just liked Barre more and so the rest is history!

The business was originally located next to the former Country House Restaurant, before moving to its current location in 1991.   Bob talked about the many changes in the film, camera, and photography business, with its current focus on digital photography as opposed to film photography.   He did say that more and more young people are re-discovering photography using film, and actually printing photographs rather than storing them in computers.   He said with film, you always had to know how to take a picture to get the desired result, but with digital cameras today, you can look at the picture immediately and if you don’t like it you shoot it again.

He also said cameras are starting to become a thing of the past with the existence of smart phones, which also double as cameras.   He said that’s cut into digital camera sales, but there are limitations to what they can do.   He said most users think the photos are “good enough”, but as Bob put it “we need to teach them that with some effort you can do better than just good enough”.   He said those in the business need to do a better job of educating people that better photography is available.   He indicated camera sales are down 30-40% but he’s diversified his business  to include service and repair, photo transfers, gifts and other things to stay relevant.

Bob said he majored in history in college and one of his real concerns is the potential loss of family history without printed photographs to pass down.  He said we are printing digital photos, but not to the extent we used to with film.   As Bob put it “we need to print it or lose it”.    He said families need to make sure they leave something behind for people to remember them by.   Good words from a very active, civic-minded business owner.   Memphis’s loss is Barre’s gain!

The winning raffle ticket was held by Charlie Dindo, and since we’ve somehow (literally) lost all our marbles, he had no chance to go for the clear marble.

Next week’s program features the owners of Simply Delicious and the Bag Ladies Café.   Thanks to Karl for filling in on programs during Roy’s absence.